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Fifteen-Foot Puppet Joins Kronos Quartet for World Premieres at BAM Oct. 3-6

By Matthew Westphal
03 Oct 2007

The Kronos Quartet in Erik Sanko's Dear Mme.

The Kronos Quartet has collaborated with any number of musicians, visual artists, choreographers and theater artists in its 34 years. But tonight may be the foursome's first time performing with a 15-foot puppet.

The place is the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the occasion is BAM's 25th Next Wave Festival, and the piece is Dear Mme., a music-theater work by composer Erik Sanko and puppeteer Brian Mohr commissioned by BAM and receiving its world premiere this evening.

Said puppet (see photo below) is a writer who writes and rewrites stories in which he woos his beloved in various ways — and those stories get acted out on a marionette stage lodged in the puppet-writer's chest cavity.

Opening the program — collectively titled "More Than Four" — is another world premiere: Amon Tobin's two-part Shuffle 25 / Bloodstone — Remix 1. Part One, Shuffle 25 (in honor of the 25th Next Wave), is made up of samples, all shuffled together, from 24 selected recordings of the Kronos's previous appearances at BAM. The second part is, in fact, a remix of Tobin's own Bloodstone featuring recordings made by the composer of Kronos in rehearsal. In both parts of the new work, the audio samples are triggered by infrared sensors on "StringScan" instruments created by the Seattle-based sculptor and musician called Trimpin.

The remaining work on the program, in its U.S. premiere, is Uniko, a 2004 collaboration between the Kronos and the Finnish duo Kluster, made up of accordionist Kimmo Pohjonen and electronic sampling artist Samuli Kosminen.

"More Than Four" has performances at 8 p.m. tonight and October 5 and 6 at BAM's Harvey Theater. Tickets and information area available at www.bam.org.

The Kronos Quartet with co-star in Dear Mme.
photo by Julieta Cervantes





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